2008-05-09 / Letters

Can't Serve Two Masters

Dear Editor,

Recently, I wrote a letter to the editor expressing my outrage at Democrat Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's clear and obvious conflict of interest in serving as counsel to New York's largest trial lawyer firm, making hundreds of thousand of dollars from a firm that sues New York City, New York State and New York's leading employers, costing taxpayers money and jobs.

As a retired Police Officer and Community Board representative, I also expressed outrage that Queens Democrat Assembly Member Brian McLaughlin's longstanding conflicts of interest should have been highlighted by his colleagues in the Assembly - particularly those in the Queens delegation. Even today most stand mute to his crimes, which included looting a little league. Now we read every day about Democrat Speaker Christine Quinn's false accounts, and every day they locate another Democrat Council Member or staffer who was helping him or herself to public funds. It is a crying shame.

Now, we read that our Judges are revolting by "striking" against cases represented by the law firms of Assembly Members and Senators because they have not had a pay increase for many, many years and feel they are underpaid compared to judges in other states and particularly compared to Federal Judges. While I personally believe "striking" besmirches the integrity of the bench, it certainly serves to highlight the self-evident conflict of interest of many Assembly Members and State Senators in serving two masters - their own legal clients as well as their constituents, who they were elected to represent.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should either resign his Assembly seat or resign as counsel to Weitz & Luxenberg. Assembly Member Ann Margaret Carrozza, who maintains her own law practice in addition to holding her elected office, owes it to her constituents in North Eastern Queens to decide where her priorities lie. Will she serve her constituents' interests or will she

serve her clients

interests? Given the current un-official judges' strike, it appears that she may be prejudicing the interests of both. You really can't serve two masters.

Maybe we need a Mollen Commission for the New York State Assembly. Certainly we need more checks and balances. One thing is clear: One Party Rule is not making for good government. This is not a partisan issue, just because everyone caught in these conflicts of interest and selfdealing scandals is a Democrat.

Most reasonable and fair-minded people would agree that New York needs a working two-party system, so our elected officials will be more responsive and accountable to the people who put them in office.


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